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Comment: Re:Syrian Rebels ARE the WRONG HANDS! (Score 4, Insightful) 279

by johnos (#41897511) Attached to: New Technology May Cut Risk of Giving Syrian Rebels Stinger Missiles
Did you live through the Cold War or just read about it? Because the big lesson was that sweeping generalizations about other systems of government and their danger to Western Civilization are complete bullshit. The Soviets were never capable of a fraction of the things we thought. Communism did not turn out to be a monolithic entity. It turned out to be organized crime running (or mostly not) countries. They weren't looking for world domination, they were looking out for #1. I don't know about you, but I promised myself when the Cold War ended to never be taken in like that again.

Characterizations of Islam as a monolithic threat to our way of life are even less tenable than the threat from Communism. Islam is a religion, not a movement or ideology. Its fractured all over the place. Iran and Saudi Arabia are moral enemies. And Saudi Arabia is by far the most aggressive state in the export of Islamist fundamentalism. The reason Islamic parties are winning elections is because they tend to be not corrupt. They are frequently the only political groups that have the first idea about taking care of citizens rather than getting rich. And I thought the whole point of American foreign policy was the furthering of democracy. Well Islamists were elected in Egypt and Algeria last year, and in Turkey a decade ago. Has one of those countries invaded Israel?

I think the biggest threat to world peace is not Islamists, its Republicans.
Censorship

MP Seeking To Outlaw Written Accounts of Child Abuse 454

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-what-you-write dept.
First time accepted submitter Anduril1986 writes "A UK Conservative MP is seeking to expand censorship in another 'think of the children' debate. The plan this time is to make it illegal to possess written accounts of child abuse. According to Sir Paul Beresford, the MP for Mole Valley such writing 'fuels the fantasies' of offenders and could lead to the physical abuse of children."

Comment: Re:Houses too (Score 1) 330

by johnos (#34034028) Attached to: How Allies Used Math Against German Tanks
A friend's father commanded a company of Canadan Tanks in Italy 1943 - 44. He had a great story of Tiger hunting in small Italian hill towns. br> First, the rule of thumb was 5 Shermans against 1 Tiger. Any decent shot from a Tiger would turn a Sherman into a smoldering wreck.
Once they had found the tank (usually fingered by intel), they'd enter the town from different directions
The key the whole deal was figuring out where the Tiger was before they figured out they were being hunted
The tanks would then separate into one group of three and another of two.
The group of three was supposed to drive around fire the odd shot, and back the Tiger into a wall
As the Allies had no weapons that could destroy the front and side Armour of a Tigers, this was a logical move for the Germans
Over the radios, the three tanks would let the other two tanks where the tiger was. They would sneak around the back of the tiger and line up side-by side with apartment buildings between them and the Tiger. The first tank shot a hole in the wall, hopefully revealing the back of the tiger. The other tank would be ready to fire a fatal shot at the back of the tiger.
Highly skilled, highly dangerous, and very lucky if it works.
Businesses

+ - Piracy and a new way of thinking...->

Submitted by micdisc
micdisc (1726016) writes "This is a proposal for a new business model regarding software piracy. I've never seen anyone discuss something like this idea although I'm sure several people have thought about it. I know it's a sensitive subject, but it seems time to face the reality....

As a software programmer I understand the need, or at least the purpose, of things like DRM, software activation, and serial keys, however I also understand the other side of the fence. I’m not here to debate the morals of software piracy, but rather to discuss the business model of software piracy. Microsoft, Google and other companies spend millions and millions of dollars trying to combat software piracy with lawsuits and different software techniques all ending with the same result. You can still pirate Windows, you can still pirate Adobe Creative Suite 4, you can still pirate Nero Burning Rom 9. So in my mind, what’s the point?"

Link to Original Source
NASA

NASA To Cryogenically Freeze Satellite Mirrors 47

Posted by Soulskill
from the ain't-it-cool dept.
coondoggie writes "NASA said it will soon move some of the larger (46 lb) mirror segments of its future James Webb Space Telescope into a cryogenic test facility that will freeze the mirrors to -414 degrees Fahrenheit (~25 K). Specifically, NASA will freeze six of the 18 Webb telescope mirror segments at the X-ray and Cryogenic Facility, or XRCF, at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in a test to ensure the critical mirrors can withstand the extreme space environments. All 18 segments will eventually be tested at the site. The test chamber takes approximately five days to cool a mirror segment to cryogenic temperatures."
PlayStation (Games)

PlayStation Network Expanding To Involve Other Devices 63

Posted by Soulskill
from the making-toasters-smarter dept.
At CES, Sony's Kaz Hirai confirmed that the company will build out its PlayStation Network for use with other devices, such as televisions, Blu-ray players, and PCs. Quoting: "... the expansion starts next month with the availability of the PSN video store on these other devices, and Hirai explained they are constructing a mechanism to create a single user ID across the entire network (if you have a PSN account, it's good to go on any other applicable Sony device, and if you create one on another device, it'll work on PSN). And finally, Hirai also announced the formation of a new Sony division — called Sony Network Entertainment, Inc. — to drive this expansion of the PSN service into a Sony-wide network."

Comment: The Corporate View (Score 1) 675

by johnos (#30009990) Attached to: Cable Exec Suggests Changing Consumer Behavior, Not Business Model
The first job of any executive is to protect the existing revenue stream. The problem with telling an existing multi-billion dollar company to come up with a new business model is like trying to take a 90 degree turn in a 747. The aircraft will not survive the maneuver.

Everyone knows the content and distribution businesses have to change. Nobody has any idea how or what the result looks like. Its not like culture will come to an end, there was culture before TV and record companies. But empires have been built and the people they employ are going to do their best to save them. That's not a conspiracy, its the nature of institutions.

Comment: It Won't Work (Score 1) 181

by johnos (#29514557) Attached to: EU Funding "Orwellian" Artificial Intelligence Snooping System
In the real world, nobody can amass the hardware, software and expertise to do this kind of thing. Even the much vaunted NSA does little more than scan widely for keywords and narrowly for specific individuals or small groups of individuals. They also don't do any investigating. All such systems suffer from exactly the same limitation, false positives. The false positives overwhelm the investigative resources.

The only people to successfully implement a robust and lasting system for monitoring and control were the Soviets. They didn't use technology to do it. And they didn't care about false positives because they defined all positives as true.

Comment: Voodoo Science (Score 1) 512

by johnos (#29220931) Attached to: Depression May Provide Cognitive Advantages
TFA is nonsense. Full of generalizations, suppositions and voodoo. They make no distinction whatever between different types of depression. They don't mention physiological symptoms or account for the role of anti-depressants, ECT or other treatments in relieving symptoms. They don't deal with the obvious problem that depression can lead to suicide. The notion that encouraging rumination should have a measurable impact on the progress of the episode is laughable. Should blowing your nose more often have an impact on how quickly you recover from a cold?

In very rough terms, there are two types of depression: transitory and chronic. Transitory depression is a reaction some people have to trauma, psychic or physical. When someone says 30% of adults suffer from depression sometime in their life, this is what they are talking about. If your marriage breaks down, you get depressed for a time. You might even benefit from focusing on your problems, but to say the depression is an evolutionary adaptation that leads to the analysis leads to benefits is voodoo. Its the same thing as saying Sickle Cell Anemia confers a resistance to Malaria.

The notion that every human characteristic must have an evolutionary benefit is plain stupid. Its this kind of thinking that has turned Evolutionary Psychology into a joke. This article is a prime example.

Comment: We Are In Quarantine (Score 2, Interesting) 642

by johnos (#28900973) Attached to: Fewer Than 10 ET Civilizations In Our Galaxy?
Fermi's Paradox came up in a dream once. The explanation, according to the dream, is that Earth is in quarantine. The powers that be in the Galaxy put a communications blocking bubble around the solar system of all new technological civilizations for 10,000 or 15,000 years. The point of the exercise is that new civilizations are like teenagers, dangerous and unaware of their power to wreak havoc. This is especially true of newcomers that discover inter stellar travel while not yet having complete control over their atomics. So they just wall us off until we either 1) destroy ourselves, or 2) grow out of our galactic adolescence.

The dream went on to explain why we see UFOs that don't communicate with us. They are outlaws breaking the quarantine. Humans, said the dream, have unique language abilities unknown elsewhere in the galaxy. A single human could write more and better code than teams of hundreds in the next-best software civilization. So the UFOs are from some of the shadier civilizations out there and they come to kidnap code slaves. They have to stay stealthy or they will get caught.

This was a real dream I had about 10 years ago. And yes, I was asleep at the time. The story is obviously full of holes, it was only a dream after all, but intriguing.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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